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Posted at 1:00 PM ET, 08/ 5/2010

If Fenty and Rhee go, does Klein follow?

By Dan Malouff

It has long been accepted that if Vincent Gray beats Adrian Fenty to become the next mayor of Washington, Michelle Rhee will be gone and many of the school reforms she champions will be discontinued. But what about Fenty's appointments to other agencies?

Specifically, what about D.C. Department of Transportation Director Gabe Klein, whose progressive plans for streetcars and bicycling infrastructure have made Washington as much of a national model in the transportation sector as Rhee's reforms have in education circles. If Gray is elected, will Klein be welcome to stay on?

Yesterday during an interview on the Kojo Nnamdi radio show, Klein was asked if he would be open to staying on if Gray wins. His response: "I serve at the pleasure of the mayor. ... If the mayor wants me here, then I'm here."

So if Klein is at least open to the possibility of staying on under Gray, what does Gray think about Klein? Personally, I'd be much more comfortable with Gray if he would openly endorse keeping Klein and sticking with DDOT's transportation reform efforts.

Dan Malouff is an Arlington County transportation planner who blogs independently at BeyondDC.com. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By Dan Malouff  | August 5, 2010; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., D.C. politics, HotTopic, Local blog network  
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Comments

Hey Dan, you need to worry about what goes on in Arlington, Virginia. You are not a D.C. resident, voter, or taxpayer. I think Gabe Klein needs to go. I think, he's an undercover racist white gay male who feels, he can talk down to black D.C. residents. He tried this once with me and I had to put him in his place. Fenty has divided D.C. by race and class. For the record, everyone doesn't ride a bike or like riding bikes.

Posted by: Ward4DC | August 5, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Hey Ward4DC, actually I am a DC resident, voter, and taxpayer. You may have noticed that many people around the region do not live and work in the same jurisdiction.

Posted by: Dan Malouff | August 5, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

" I think Gabe Klein needs to go. I think, he's an undercover racist white gay male who feels, he can talk down to black D.C. residents."

If this is the kind of argument Gray supporters use against Fenty or his administration, then Gray deserves to lose.

Posted by: thecourtyard | August 5, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Well Dan, it wasn't exactly a great career move for Gabe Klein to send his techno minions off on a head hunt when Chairman Gray found that there wasn't an adequate plan in place for the streetcar project development which would threaten it's funding. A notion that proved to be true when federal transit rejected the District DOT's application for 25 million in support funds while funding similar projects in other, better prepared, cities across the nation.

It paint's Klein as a spoiled rotten kid that is willing to throw electro tantrums if he doesn't get his way.

Certainly Klein knew that there was a possibility that Gray could win this race and to try and sabotage him in such a way would have consequences.

A point of correction, progressive transportation in the District has been in the works well before Klein became the DDOT director and they will continue on long after he is gone. In fact it was DDOT's first Director, Dan Tangherlini, that came up with the hair-brained streetcar idea, as well as, the implementation of bike lanes in the city. Klein was still selling sandwiches from his carts when these projects began. It was Director Michelle Pourciau moved the mantle strides forward.

Of all DDOT past Directors, Klein is the least experienced in any aspect of transportation operations and system maintenance and development. Meaning, he has NONE. Of course, you will find that to be "o.k.". WP writers tend to find credentials and professional competence in a field of expertise to be a handicap. Particularly when they have an unnatural fascination with the individual.

The District will survive without a Gabe Klein. He, in reality, has never been the crux of transportation success. Even with snow, Klein was only the media face, but only the face, DPW Director Howland was the brains behind the operation and, of course, the press politely ignored that fact.

The question you should be asking, if you are truly interested in progressive transportation, is do we have the BEST.

I think not.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | August 5, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

to Ward4DC: Careful!! I'm White, a DC resident, a voter and a taxpayer and I'm NOT for Fenty and most of the White people I know aren't for him either.

WaPo has been trying to divide this mayoral race along racial and socio-economic lines and it doesn't fall so easily into those categories. Please don't buy into what they're saying.

Posted by: UrbanDweller | August 5, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Why are so many people bent on trying to force Gray to rehire all of Fenty's people? It has nothing to do with performance because most havn't had time to make that much of an impact. I think it's the perception that Fenty chose White administrators over Black administrators that seems to have many Whites excited about Fenty. It's all about symbolism.

We will get a REAL educator with legitimate qualifications to run the school system. Rhee wasn't even qualified for her position. The hire was strictly on a buddy buddy friendship basis with Kevin Johnson. Rhee never taught, headed a school nor has been a Superintendent so how in the heck did she get the job and why do folks think she's so special? She was a horrible financial manager. Major screw ups on that end. Basically hired all non African American applicants and made a concentrated effort to dismiss Blacks. People have so many stereotypes about Blacks in government. It's a shame. Fenty sends the wrong message to our young people. He must go!!!

Posted by: kentonsmith | August 5, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

This overt racism by the same few people on every blog "ward4dc" "concernedaboutdc" is so tired and played out in this era of post-racial politics. If you don't like that DC is a rainbow, and you just want it to be one color, then you should leave. The rest of us want a diverse, vibrant city with a great transportation system to boot. Mr. Klein is doing that. If experience in carsharing, bikes don't count as experience, then you just want a bureaucrat. This administration seems to strive for more. Kudos to Fenty for that.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc2 | August 5, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Bye, Mr. Klein.

We don't need streetcars. We need more Metro lines -- purple, silver, black, brown, and white. What we have now is too small, cramped, and therefore error-prone.

What is France doing that we're not? The French have 15 lines and we got just five. Cut me a freaking break.

Posted by: bs2004 | August 5, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Rhee may leave, but Gray has made it clear that he intends to continue school reform.

It's only people trying to scare others from voting for Gray who say otherwise.

See his plan for the schools at:
http://www.vincegrayformayor.com/education/

Posted by: efavorite | August 5, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

we can't afford 9 more Metro lines genius, thats somewhere in the neighborhood of $75 Billion dollars vs. $2 billion for the whole streetcar network. Bye bs2004

Posted by: concernedaboutdc2 | August 5, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

@concernedaboutdc2 -- Aren't you the nutball who was for the roadblocks in Trinidad? THE ONES WHICH WERE UNCONSTITUTIONAL????

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

No, bama. We need to double the capacity of Metrorail. Streetcars won't do it at all. They will clog the roads worse than the Circulator buses do now.

Get a clue. Get a life. Get a Constitution!

YEEEAAAGGGGHHHHH!!!

Posted by: bs2004 | August 5, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

UrbanDweller, I apoligize to you if I offended you. Fenty has divided our city by race and class. I don't like Gabe Klein because he's an arrogant little man who like's to talk down to others. Gabe Klein doesn't have the experience to be DDOT Director. This is one of King Fenty's inexperienced appointments. After all, King Fenty is inexperienced himself.

Native Washingtonian
Registered D.C. Voter Since 1975
Ward 4 Resident

Posted by: Ward4DC | August 5, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

We need both the streetcar lines and the Metro lines. What makes Istanbul, Turkey such an amazing and functioning city is the healthy mix of light rail, subways, buses, and other forms. Any city that relies on one form or another of public transit is doomed. I consider Gabe Klein a source of energy and inspiration in the DC Transit arena.

Posted by: phburris | August 5, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Rhee's reforms were not really reforms. WaPo just keeps repeating that they were over and over again.

Perhaps Gray can bring someone to DC who will bring "true" reform to the school system.

Posted by: educationlover54 | August 5, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Just a note. Just because I'm concerned about Fenty not hiring Black administrators doesn't mean I don't think we should have diversity within administrations. I have seen a lot of people from all backgrounds working with Vince Gray. But....uh...since the city is still majority Black can we get some Blacks in the picture too? Having concerns about Black representation makes me a racist? In a majority Black city? Wow...you go for the jugular don't you.

Posted by: kentonsmith | August 5, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

@concernedaboutdc2: Please do tell. What in my statement is "overtly" racist? If you care to reach back to your early elementary days where reading for comprehension got you the grade you would find that in my comments I lamented that it was the original DDOT Director, Dan Tangherlini (a white man) who began this march towards what some call "progressive" transportation.

You seem to have what psychologists call a projection disorder wherein the racism that is present in yourself is unconsciously reflected in others irrespective of a contrary reality. In laymen's terms, "kinda crazy".

What Fenty fiends have a terrible habit of doing is painting anyone and anything with a difference of opinion to theirs as being "stuck in the past" or "old" or "resistent to change" or part of the "old guard".

God Forbid I say that we need to have a plan to pay for what we intend to build without busting the budget. Need I remind you Anthony Williams, the man who led the renaissance of this city, a fact Fenty fiends brazenly resist, left the Fenty Administration with a one BILLION dollar surplus in the wake of this urban rejuvination, plus another BILLION for DCPS renovations. We now sit in a deficit situation thanks in no small part to the fiscally irresponsible Adrian Fenty. Anthony Williams was deliberate, he was financially savvy, he worked with Council Chair Linda Croppm the Council, and citizens (through the citizens summits) to get things done. All things that the Post and Fenty minions decry as being a 'drag' on progress. What we see as "progress" in this city are due to the toil and labor of Williams, NOT Fenty. Fenty spent the money, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to do that. What he will leave for his predessor, is what the Bush Administration left for Obama. A fiscal mess. He has overspent the Summer Youth program budget every year since he has taken office. Once to the tune of 30 million dollars.

Contrary to popular belief, this city was a "diverse, vibrant city with a great transportation system" BEFORE Fenty took office.

As I stated, and the fact remains, of all DDOT past Directors, Klein is the least experienced in any aspect of transportation operations and system maintenance and development. The nuts and bolts of ANY public transporation agency in the nation. He lacks the fundamentals. Perhaps he can lead a nationwide rental car agency, but a construction and operation intensive public agency.

The question is, do we have the BEST?

I think NOT.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | August 5, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

I think that Klein's "BIKES! BIKES! AND MORE BIKES! OH, AND ALSO STREETCARS!" approach disrespects the majority of DC residents, especially those in the poorer neighborhoods. His focus seems only to be on servicing young, white, affluent residents. Streetcars are favored over buses because young whites basically wouldn't be caught dead on a bus with their cleaning ladies and the busboys at their favorite restaurants. As far as I can tell, Klein and his boss don't seem to be interested in improving the lives of poorer, minority residents in DC. As I say this as an affluent white resident of Ward 3, which gets most of Fenty's and Klein's attention. Guys, DC ain't Bethesda, so let's stop pretending it is.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | August 5, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Thank you WashingtonDame. Well said!

Posted by: Ward4DC | August 5, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

@WashingtonDame,
The first two streetcar lines are going into H st. NE and through Anacostia, both low income areas with large African American populations. Moreover, those streetcars are their to relieve congestion on bus routes through those neighborhoods that are running at absolute capacity.
I don't see how adding an extremely large bike sharing network is not good for everyone including poorer residents, it will increase bike travel in the city which will decrease congestion, reduce emissions and improve the health of those riding the bikes.
These transit and infrastructure improvements are being done for the benefit of ALL citizens in DC and the locations noting the implementation of both the streetcar and bikes show this.

Posted by: cmerchan | August 5, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

cmerchan:

Exactly how many of the African-Americans who are long-term residents of the neighborhoods where the streetcars are clamoring for streetcars? You can probably count them on the fingers of one hand. It's the young whites who are gentrifying these neighborhoods who demanding the streetcars. You think it's just pure coincidence that the streetcars are planned through the neighbors where the yuppies are moving in (and driving up rents)?

As for the usual bunch of yadda yadda yadda you cite about the generic virtues of bike sharing, let me tell you that when young children go to crappy schools and fail to graduate, live in single-parent households, and can't find decent jobs because they're functionally illiterate, decreasing congestion and emissions is the LAST thing they need to improve these lives.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | August 5, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Hope so [that they go]. After they go I suspect we'll probably find out the details of just how corrupt they are -- and they are all young enough to be bothering DC and the Country for another 40 years.

Anybody own stocks in Charter Schools? Don't worry they won't suffer no matter who is elected.

Posted by: chris_holte | August 5, 2010 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Once a bitter, bigoted, homophobic racist, always one. No matter how many fake screen names you have, posting over and over, your insecurities and hate shines through, and while it may be black on white, gay, young bigotry, it is still that. This intolerance is unacceptable in 2010. We have a mixed race president, mayor, and a colorful, changing city. If you cant grow up, and change with the times, then that's tragic for you. We are moving on, and leaving people like you in the dust. As an older black woman, I am tired of your self sabotaging, negative behavior. We are not all the same, all so limited in our intellect.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc2 | August 5, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

@Washingtondame,
Two things,
Even if what you suppose is the case with regards to a supposed black v. white divide then its still a moot point. (I haven't seen any evidence that this is the case and I've been following the streetcar development for a long time now) your basing your mistrust of streetcar on fears of gentrification (which are also mostly unfounded especially in anacostia) and those fears are based on the fact that White people are moving in?
2nd with regards to your comments about schools. Gabe klein is in charge of transportation management and infrastructure. So it is his job to worry about emissions, he can't do much about schools thats michelle rhee's job. And yes, and since everybody is apparently going to remain uneducated, jobless, and poor I guess its good that they'll have bikes since no one will be able to afford a car anyway.

Posted by: cmerchan | August 6, 2010 12:09 AM | Report abuse

@kentonsmith, You are right, on all points.
@concernedaboutdc, I'm glad to see that there are still people left, who do not have ADD.
There are people that have lived in DC for over 30 years, I'm one of those people. I remember the riots, Civil Rights marches, birth of Home Rule, Desegregation, Marion Barry, Yep, Mayor Barry, Mayor Williams, and now the Worst-Mayor-In-DC-History. If you don't know history (good/bad) you will surely repeat it. DC will do just fine with a New Mayor.

Posted by: fivetogo | August 6, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

@concernedaboutdc2: I appreciate the accolades in adopting my user name. However, you suffer from reality deprivation. You will today, and always will be, a number 2 to me.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | August 6, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse


Chancellor Rhee & Mayor Fenty continues to drop the education ball. (DC CAS) results…from: http://www.nclb.osse.dc.gov.

Only eight (8) out of 87 DCPS Elementary Schools made AYP this year. Two (2) of the eight were 2 Special Education Centers…Mamie D. Lee & Sharp Health Center.

Two (2) out of 34 DCPS middle and high schools made their AYP targets. The two (2) high schools are School Without Walls and Banneker SHS - (Honor High School).

No DCPS middle school made their DC CAS AYP targets for this school year. There has been a big INCREASE in the number of DCPS schools not meeting their DC CAS (AYP) targets over the past three (3) years.

The NCLB data (DC CAS) indicates that over 57% of our DCPS students are NOT proficient in math an also indicated that 56% of our DCPS students are NOT proficient in reading this year.

Again, there has been an INCREASE in the number of DC schools that have not met their (DC CAS) AYP TARGETS over the last 3 years.

This Rhee based reform…. Teach For America, Fellows (Five weeks of training & then placed in DCPS classrooms) and New Leaders principals (1 year training) experiment is failing our students, parents and community.

DCPS - Finalist in Race To The Top??? Secretary Duncan needs to take a second look.

Why can’t the DC Council apply the same evaluation tool (IMPACT) they used to fire our teachers and apply the same standard for Rhee and Fenty?

As a DC resident folks…it’s time for a REAL superintendent and a NEW mayor!

Posted by: hello101 | August 8, 2010 6:33 AM | Report abuse

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